Saturday, December 29, 2007

GOP rep takes taxpayer's money to build gas station.

Politics: Oh screw this nonsense.

More than 25 years after he nearly ran out of gas there, Rep. Dave Hobson was finally able to fill up in Wilberforce Thursday at a new Speedway SuperAmerica gas station at U.S. Route 42 and Brush Row Road.

Central State University President John Garland was so happy about the new oasis that he pumped the Springfield Republican’s gas himself, filling up Hobson’s Pontiac Montana SV6 after the Congressional credit card was swiped at the brand new pump.

“This will provide much-needed resources and services to this community,” said Garland. “Students no longer will have the fright of driving with their gas light on E, but it also will give some students the opportunity to get a job and get some valuable experience with Speedway.”

The development, named the Tawawa/Dave Hobson Plaza at a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting, is joint project between Speedway SuperAmerica, which has its corporate headquarters in Enon, and the Tawawa Community Business Development Center.

In addition to the 2,500 sq. ft., 24-7 gas station and convenience store, the plaza contains 500 sq. ft. of retail space that is expected to be leased to a pizza parlor or other take-out restaurant. Officials at CSU and at Wilberforce University believe that’s something vitally important in a community with hundreds of college students and no pizza delivery or nearby fast food options.

It is not vitally important when you use my money so you can build a pizza stop and fill up your gas tank. This is one of the dumber earmarks I have read about in a while. You mean to tell me that after 25 years, Speedway or the local/state government couldn't have worked on this themselves? Given the speed companies build near colleges to capture a young people to be brand loyal and get a steady revenue stream, maybe the reason someone hasn't built anything until the taxpayer's money was used because it wouldn't be worth the trouble? Someone should sue to get back the money.

In 2001, Hobson was finally able to secure an economic development grant totaling about $800,000 from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for TCBDC, and then worked to get Speedway into the partnership. Speedway eventually kicked in $800,000 and the Greene County Commissioners covered a funding gap of about $100,000, according to Jeff Payne, executive director of the TCBDC.

The TCBDC owns the land and the building, leasing space to Speedway and the other tenant, while Speedway covers the cost of improvements to the site, including parking lot changes at the adjacent Wilberforce Post Office, Payne said.

Speedway Vice President Gary Buroker said his company plans to offer not only jobs, but internships and management training opportunities to CSU and WU students through the location.

“Sometimes you read in the newspaper people saying that earmarks are bad,” said Hobson, who is retiring from Congress after the current term. “But I’m probably more proud of this earmark and what it will do in the future than anything I’ve ever done.”

Absolutely wretched. It is no wonder why there is a growing number of Americans who think the government should be their mommy and daddy when garbage like this is approved.

Via Captain Ed.

Bill Kristol gets hired by NYTIMES, liberals explode.

Politics: So much for tolerance and exchange of political ideals. The NYTIMES gets their first true conservative writer and you think the world is going to end.

The New York Times’ hiring of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to write for its op-ed page caused a frenzy in the liberal blogosphere Friday night, with threats of canceling subscriptions and claims that the Gray Lady had been hijacked by neo-cons

But Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal sees things differently.

Rosenthal told Politico shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views.”

“The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that’s a bad thing,” Rosenthal added. “How intolerant is that?”

Kristol, whose strident support of President Bush and the war in Iraq remains a source of consternation among liberals, took pride in the reaction on the Huffington Post, where the news first broke.

“I was flattered watching blogosphere heads explode,” Kristol told Politico. “It was kind of amusing.”

UK fails to halt teen pregnancy rate.

UK: Despite having one of the most liberal sex education programs around including giving the morning after pill without parents consent to young girls, rates are soaring.

Every year, almost 50,000 girls under 18 fall pregnant, leading critics to claim that government-led efforts to encourage safer sex are backfiring. The number who conceive is at its highest level since a multi-million-pound teenage pregnancy crackdown almost a decade ago.

As a result, Britain tops the league table of teenage mothers in western Europe, despite also having a record number of school-age abortions.

This comes despite the Government investing more than £150 million in an attempt to stem the tide of conceptions - and pledging to cut teenage pregnancy rates by half by the end of this decade.

Ministers admit - in a document quietly released before the Christmas parliamentary recess - that the 2010 target to cut teenage pregnancies is doomed to failure.

...Government policies aimed at dealing with the problem have allowed girls to obtain standard contraceptive and morning-after pills at school, without the consent of their parents, while new proposals will allow them to go directly to pharmacists.

Last night, critics said that Labour's policies had backfired and made girls feel increasingly under pressure to become sexually active at a younger age. Others expressed fears that national targets were powerless in the face of a popular culture in which youth was increasingly sexualised.

Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust charity, said that the Government had allowed the "systematic removal of every restraint that used to act as a disincentive to under-age sex". There was no evidence that easy availability of contraception reduced teenage pregnancy rates, instead it added to pressure on young girls by normalising under-age sex, he said.

Mr Wells also attacked the Government's commitment to confidentiality policies about contraception which "kept parents in the dark about their children's sexual activity".

"The problems associated with teenage pregnancy will never be solved so long as the Government persists with its reliance on yet more contraception and sex education," he said. "What we need is a radical change away from a culture which has reduced sex to a casual recreational activity."

The Dutch program is just as liberal but one key component that is not used in the British program.

"Liberal campaigners in this country point to Holland's permissive health policies, including compulsory sex education in schools from the age of five, as being key to its success. While schools are free to design their own programmes, some of the most shocking initiatives have included condom demonstrations for 10?year?olds, trips to sex shops for older teenagers, and cartoon videos on how to masturbate.

But advocates of the Dutch approach say the practical demonstrations are just a tiny part of their agenda, which encourages teens to discuss the moral and emotional implications of sex. Typical debates include reasons to have sex, what to say if a boy refuses to wear a condom and how to maintain self-respect.

Dutch campaigners say Britain's schools tick the box for sex education by providing biology lessons and free condoms, without arming teenage girls with the confidence to say no to unwanted advances, or to care for their sexual health.

A study of teenagers in Holland and Britain found that while boys and girls in the Netherlands gave "love and commitment" as their primary reason for losing their virginity, as did girls in this country, British boys were more strongly influenced by peer pressure, opportunity and physical attraction. Further British research showed that one-third of teenage girls lost their virginity to please a boyfriend, while more than half had experienced unprotected sex."

The key is to have the moral and personal aspects of having sex at that young age to be just as important as the technical part. Leave that out and you get record births and abortions with no end in sight.

David Hicks now fears for his life. Good.

Australia: Awww, I feel his pain and relish it with unbridled glee and happiness.

"...Mr Hicks's family said that, despite his relief, he was crippled by fears that he would be a target for Muslim or far-right extremists, or inadvertently breach his plea bargain agreement and be sent back to Guantanamo Bay or be punished by the Australian or South Australian governments if he spoke out or be hounded by the media, exposing him to all these risks.

Mr McLeod said his client had concerns for himself and his family because extremist groups believed that, by renouncing his Islamic faith in 2002, he had dropped his allegiance to Osama bin Laden. His al-Qaeda training and capture among Taliban forces in Afghanistan could also anger nationalist groups, he said.

Mr McLeod declined to detail the nature of any threats that had been made and whether intelligence from police or the Federal Government had prompted these concerns."

Friday, December 28, 2007

AOL officially kills off Netscape. Respect Netscape.

Internet: Netscape was my first browser, first time I knew about the World Wide Web and all the great things it contained. If it wasn't for Netscape, no way would the web have advanced in so many ways like it has today including kicking off the internet dotcom boom and bust which poured billions into web development. Salute Netscape!

British leftists are pathetic.

UK: For crying out loud, is the self loathing that much you can't even set yourself above the Taliban?

I wonder where he stands on the pointed question that Amis recently put to his impeccably liberal audience at the ICA: 'Do you feel morally superior to the Taliban?' (Only about a third raised a hand to say they did, a nice demonstration of relativist liberal guilt.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dolphins better stock pickers than analysts

Bidness: Considering how middling my stock went this year, I am listening to the Dolphins.

Dolphins score better on AEX than analysts
Thursday 27 December 2007

A group of dolphins at the Harderwijk dolphinarium are better stock-pickers than top analysts, according to Thursday’s Financieele Dagblad.

Five analysts asked at the beginning of last year to selected their top five stocks for 2007 managed to book returns of between 10% and minus 9%, the paper says.

But the five companies picked by dolphins – using 49 balls representing the biggest Euronext Amsterdam stocks – scored a return of 27%.

The dolphins’ score was boosted by the inclusion of both ABN Amro (up 57%) and TomTom (up 62%). None of the analysts picked ABN Amro and only one took TomTom.

Top human analyst was Pieter Wind of ING.

By comparison, the AEX only grew by 4.2% over the year

Illegal immigrant's message to others: Stay put

Immigration: More evidence that even this half hearted crackdown is having an effect.

Lorenzo Martinez, an illegal immigrant who has lived in Los Angeles for six years, has a message for his kin in Mexico's Hidalgo state: Stay put.

The steady construction work that had allowed him to send home as much as $1,000 a month in recent years had disappeared. The 36-year-old father of four said desperation was growing among the day laborers with whom he was competing for odd jobs.

Sporadic employment isn't the half of it. Martinez said anxiety also was running high among undocumented workers about stepped-up workplace raids, deportations and increasing demands by U.S. employers for proof that they were in the country legally.

"Better not to come," Martinez said of anyone thinking about crossing into the U.S. illegally. "The situation is really bad."

That message seems to be getting through. There are numerous signs of a slowdown in illegal immigration.

IDF don't rape Palestinian women for political purposes.

Middle East: Maybe they don't rape the women because rape is wrong? Just throwing that out there.

A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers' committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.

The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that "the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."

The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."

The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers' eyes.

"I do not have the entire text in front of me," Gurevitch said, when contacted by Arutz-7, "and I don't think we can jump to conclusions based on partial sentences, but I can say the following: This was a very serious paper that asked two important questions: Is the relative lack of IDF rapes a noteworthy phenomenon, and if so, why is it that there are so few IDF rapes when in similar situations around the world, rape is much more common?"

Observers and Academia

Arutz-7: "Can't it just be that Israeli soldiers come from a culture that very much condemns rape? And why not mention the much-touted 'purity of arms,' i.e., the high moral conduct, of the Israeli Army?"

Gurevitch said that observers do not have the right to demand a particular explanation to a given phenomenon. He said that the researcher had done a serious job, based on interviews with 25 soldiers and other accounts, and that the right-wing should not jump to the conclusion that this was simply another "secular, left-wing" generality.

Oh yes it is, Nitzan already had the conclusions and findings in her mind and then realized she could fit everything in neatly, so she made the substance fit the findings. The dehumanizing of women leads to rape, look at the conflict in Congo. The more respect you have for someone the less chance of anything like Nitzan was looking for will happen on a large scale.

NY town wants Seniors to be paid slaves for tax revenue.

Nation: Lets call it what it is instead of this socialist nonsense of what a good job the town is having seniors pay off their taxes by working a job they need to be filled. How about lowering taxes so Seniors who are retired don't have to slave at $7a hour. Ridiculous this hasn't outraged more people.

"Greenburgh doesn't want her to leave, either.

The town is pushing a program that would let seniors work part-time, for $7 an hour, to help pay off some of their property taxes.

"People shouldn't have to sell their house, move away to a place with less taxes, leave behind their family and friends," said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.

He envisions retired doctors mentoring schoolchildren, retired accountants helping with the town's finances, retired lawyers offering their services for a discount. But there are plenty of less-skilled jobs that need doing, he said.

"It's not like we're going to see grandma running the snowplow," he said. "There are lots of things people can do for the town and it wouldn't cost us that much to pay them."

The proposal has caused a stir in Greenburgh, a town of 90,000 in Westchester County, which has the nation's third-highest homeowner property taxes. The plan would be unusual if not unique in New York, but similar programs are considered successes in Colorado, Massachusetts, South Carolina and elsewhere.

Davison, who suffers from arthritis and sciatica and needs a walker to get around on her bad days, said she pays about $12,000 a year in property taxes — perhaps $2,000 to the town — and has already taken out a reverse mortgage to pay her bills.

Talking to Feiner last week at the town senior center, she said, "I would work as long as it was a job where I could sit."

"You could be a receptionist!" Feiner said. "You could greet people right here, when they come in."

"That I would love," Davison said."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oregon man sends cards from the afterlife.

Nation: This is dedication to a prank that was executed flawlessly.

Fitch, known for his sense of humor, died in October at age 88 but gave his friends and family a start recently: Christmas cards, 34 of them, began arriving—written in his hand with a return address of "Heaven."

....The mailing was a joke Fitch worked on for two decades with his barber, Patty Dean, 57. She told the Ashland Daily Tidings this week that he kept updating the mailing list and giving her extra money when postal rates went up. This fall, she said, Fitch looked up to her from the chair.

"You must be getting tired of waiting to mail those cards," he told her. "I think you'll probably be able to mail them this year."

He died a week later.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

WGA strike: Writers looked to be screwed badly.

Entertainment: According to Nikki Finke, it seems the prediction at the beginning that the networks see this strike as a way to reconfigure the business is true.

"....But the fact that it was unsuccessful dramatically points up disturbing realities, I have learned: that the CEOs are deeply entrenched in their desire to punish the WGA for daring to defy them by striking and to bully the writers into submission on every issue, and that the writers are sadly misguided to believe they have any leverage left.

I'm told the CEOs are determined to write off not just the rest of this TV season (including the Back 9 of scripted series), but also pilot season and the 2008/2009 schedule as well. Indeed, network orders for reality TV shows are pouring into the agencies right now. The studios and networks also are intent on changing the way they do TV development so they can stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars in order to see just a few new shows succeed. As for advertising, the CEOs seem determined to do away with the upfront business and instead make their money from the scatter market.

This was known at the beginning of this strike and it seemed the writers were caught up in the moment because they have left themselves in a lurch. It's beginning to look like recent auto worker strikes where they threaten the company who is looking at any excuse to cut costs happily saying okay.

Dallas Morning News likes Huckabee.

Politics: All I'm saying is when Frank Rich, Joe Klein, E.J. Dionne and liberal newspapers start to endorse and call you a "progressive" conservative, you ain't my choice for a candidate. These are warning signs. Heed them.

"I'm a conservative," he likes to say. "I'm just not mad about it." Along those lines, what sold us on Mr. Huckabee is a sense that of all the Republicans, he is the change agent the nation most needs. John McCain, whose candidacy is quite appealing despite concern about his age and temperament, was arguably that man once. But his moment has passed.

America needs a clean break from the bitter politics of the recent past. From the right, Mike Huckabee, a progressive conservative with a pastor's heart, can deliver.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thailand voters welcome back ousted leader in election.

Thailand: The military leaders have failed miserably in getting the population on their side especially with their failure to get some control of the Islamic terrorists down south.

Thaksin Shinawatra, the deposed Thai Prime Minister and owner of Manchester City football club, is poised to make a triumphant return from exile in London after his supporters won a convincing victory in the general election yesterday.

With all but a few votes counted, the People Power Party, a thinly disguised vehicle for the policies of Mr Thaksin, was on course to win about 233 of 480 seats in Thailand’s parliament, just eight short of an absolute majority. But it is well placed to lead a coalition government with the co-operation of smaller parties and to carry out its promise to bring Mr Thaksin back to Thailand after he was deposed in a military coup 15 months ago.

One PPP leader said that Mr Thaksin will return to Bangkok on February 14, Valentine’s Day, as a token of his love for the Thai people. Mr Thaksin faces charges of corruption in a Bangkok court, but leaders of the PPP have promised to restore the political rights of him and 110 of his allies who were barred from politics by the junta.

Yesterday’s result represents a humiliation for the generals who ousted the Prime Minister in September last year, after months of tumultuous street protests against Mr Thaksin by middle-class Thais. Even the adored King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, gave his endorsement to the coup.

50 Drunk Santas terrorize a cinema crowd.

Weird: It sounds like a flash mob, it will show up on youtube eventually.

-- A gang of about 50 apparently drunken Santas invaded a New Zealand cinema complex at the weekend -- frightening customers, damaging property and swearing, the cinema's manager said Monday.

Thought by police to be university students dressed in Santa suits, the group did a lightning 20-second raid on Hoyts Cinema complex in the South Island city of Christchurch on Saturday, manager Derek Rive said.

"As they ran through the complex they wrecked everything they could, the Christmas tree -- they bowled everything over ... (they were) just absolute fools," he told The Associated Press.

He said the "hooligans" abused patrons, chanted obscenities, ripped down posters and knocked over cardboard figures advertising films

U.S. illegal immigrants 'self deport' as woes mount

Immigration: In Reuters speak that mean laws are being enforced, created and making illegal mean illegal.

"....The couple are among a growing number of illegal immigrants across the United States who are starting to pack their bags and move on as a crackdown on undocumented immigrants widens and the U.S. economy slows, turning a traditional Christmas trek home into a one-way trip.

In the past year, U.S. immigration police have stepped up workplace sweeps across the country and teamed up with a growing number of local forces to train officers to enforce immigration laws.

Meanwhile, a bill seeking to offer many of the 12 million illegal immigrants a path to legal status was tossed by the U.S. Congress, spurring many state and local authorities to pass their own measures targeting illegal immigrants.

The toughening environment has been coupled with a turndown in the U.S. economy, which has tipped the balance toward self deportation for many illegal immigrants left struggling to find work.

"It is still just a thought, although we are preparing to leave," said Ernesto Garcia, a carpenter from Caborca in northwest Mexico, who stood in line at the Mexican consulate in Phoenix this week for paperwork that will allow him and his family to resume their lives south of the border."